Have A Desk Job? Take These Actions NOW To Save Your Health
Here in the 21st century, our workforce has become almost entirely sedentary. The average American sits for thirteen hours per day, eight of which are spent at a desk in front of a computer. This much sitting is having such a disastrous consequence on our health, that Mayo Clinic Endocrinologist Dr. James Levine referred to sitting as the “new smoking.”
And indeed, it is. Studies have shown that obese people sit for two-and-a-half-hours more than those at a healthy weight. And it doesn’t stop there. Sitting for eight or more hours per day leads to increases in blood pressure and diabetes. For people that already have these conditions, the conditions become worse. Prolonged sitting has even been linked to certain forms of cancer.
So if you sit at a computer all day, here are eight changes that you can make right now to decrease your risk of poor health.
One: Set up your desk and chair correctly
Sitting hunched over a computer is bad for your back, and leads to a tight, painful neck and shoulders. So make sure that your chair is at the right height for you and items on your desk are positioned correctly. Raise your monitor so that it feels like you are actually looking up. This will prevent you from slumping in your chair, and helps with not feeling tired.
Two: Drink water
Being well-hydrated positively influences every organ in your body and keeps you feeling energized. Plus, you’ll have to get up and refill, so you can use that time to do some walking and stretching.
Three: Increase the size of your font
Go for at least a twelve-point font. Anything less will cause you to squint and lead to headaches.
Four: Move around more
If you work in a building with stairs, you should never take the elevator. Also, it is a very good idea to walk the stairs a few times during your breaks and lunch. If you do not have stairs where you work, go outside.
Five: Don’t forget to breathe!
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At least several times per hour, breathe deeply and intentionally. Hold your breath in for five to ten seconds, then slowly release. You can also raise your arms over your head as you do this to increase lung expansion. This will help you stay relaxed and energized.
Six: Use an alarm
Set the alarm on your phone or computer to hour intervals, reminding you to go take a lap or two around the office. It is too easy to get caught up in your workflow and forget to move around.
Seven: Don’t forget to blink!
Staring at a computer screen for long periods of time has been shown to increase eye strain and cause you to blink less often. Consciously blinking your eyes every so often will keep them from becoming dry and tired.
Eight: Consider a stand-up desk
The health risks of prolonged sitting have been well-documented. Think about investing in a workstation where you stand rather than sit. Physiologically, our bodies were not designed for prolonged sitting to begin with. So being able to stand for most of the day will eliminate the dangers associated with eight or more hours or sitting.
Those are the main issues with sitting, as well as ways to ease, if not entirely eliminate them. Lots of sitting will shorten and atrophy the muscles of the lower body, so it is imperative that you find a way to at least minimize that from occurring. Practice these daily changes, and remember to use your alarm as a reminder. Eventually, these will become habits.